I’ve booked a holiday in Marmaris in Turkey at the start of August. What are my options? Roy Johnson, Leeds
Most people will be aware that there was a coup attempt in Turkey earlier this month. While this appears to have been unsuccessful, tensions remain and the government in the country has brought in a special state of emergency that will be in force for at least the next three months. Military personnel and public officials suspected of being involved in the plot are also being detained.
The coup followed an attack a few days earlier on Istanbul Airport in which over 40 people were killed. There was some initial flight disruption, with British Airways cancelling flights on the following Saturday. But all the major UK airlines that fly to the country have now resumed their schedules, although most say they are keeping that under review.
The UK’s Foreign Office says the coup attempt was mainly focused on the big cities like Ankara and Istanbul, rather than the coastal resorts, although there has been some disturbance in Marmaris. They say Brits in Turkey should avoid all travel to within 10km of the Syrian border as well as certain provinces listed on the Foreign Office website.
Holidaymakers should keep a close eye on guidance issued by their travel companies and stay away from demonstrations or areas where crowds may gather. The Foreign Office has also reissued advice about the high threat of terrorism in the country and, importantly, the likelihood that attacks may target the country’s tourism industry.
So can you cancel a trip that’s already booked?
Yes, but you’ll probably have to pick up the costs. Companies aren’t obliged to offer compensation or free cancellation unless the Foreign Office has issued an order not to travel to the country and that hasn’t happened. Some companies might offer you the chance to rebook for another destination, but you’ll need to contact them to discuss the options.
Unfortunately, most travel insurance policies don’t include disruption due to political instability or acts of terrorism. If you’ve booked transport and hotel accommodation separately, check your terms and conditions to see if you can cancel and, if so, how much notice you have to give.
The current situation is very bad news for tourism in Turkey, which, even before the failed coup attempt, has seen visitor numbers fall by almost 40% year-on-year. But there is a glimmer of hope. There are some amazing deals to be had at the moment and some Turkish travel websites are reporting an increase in bookings for the remainder of the year.